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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Old 06-16-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
Wampus
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Default Vending pricing adjustment due to meat costs -- what's fair?

We're vending in 2 weeks at a competition that we've been a vendor at in previous years (this will be our 3rd year).

With the increase costs in meat prices this year, we're trying to figure out what's a fair price to charge for our product. Thought I'd see what you all thought....


Here's what we're paying for meat right now here in Indy....
(I just called Restaurant Depot to get today's case prices. These are the best prices in town consistently)
Untrimmed Pork Spare Ribs (3.5 lb & down) - $1.89/lb
Bone In Pork Butts- $1.88/lb
USDA Choice Briskets - $3.24/lb

Our menu items are as follows with LAST YEAR'S prices:
Spare Ribs: 1/2 rack $12, Full rack $20
Rib tips: $8 (3 pieces of tips or about 1/2 rack)
Pulled Pork Sandwich: $6
Brisket Sandwich: $8


We know what we made last year after the event.
We have expectations of what we'd like to make this year.
We always sell out later than the other vendors (we always cook more).
We seem to have the longest lines. People have come by after trying the other vendors and tell us that they like our stuff the best and that they look forward to us being there every year.

So.....

What's a fair price due to the cost of meat doing what it has?
Meat around here isn't as bad as other places, but worse than some and it's STILL more than it was last year.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:55 AM   #2
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Figure the % of increase in meat costs, increase finish product by the same %.

$6 for a pp sammich is cheap, considering a burger is $6 at any fast food joint. You could easily go to $7.50 on that.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:58 AM   #3
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I've been doing this full time for a year now and I'm no expert, but here is what I've found...

People expect to pay more at these events or from a trailer / truck. People expect to pay more for BBQ.

Research what the local que chains are charging in the area and be close to that same number.

Depending on the size of your portions $8.00 is great for brisket. As mentioned earlier, I think that pork is too low. However, if your making it a volume game ( which I have discovered is all BBQ is...), then $6.00 will allow you to turn and burn.

Ribs are too low, IMHO. I try to avoid them because of all the pit space, but they do sell out. I use a 2 bones for $6.00 model when vending at events. Selling on the side of the road is rack / 1/2 rack.

You know your audience though and what pricing model works, but the truth is most people I talk to, know that meat has gone up because they buy it for the homestead.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:19 PM   #4
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I wish I could buy meat as cheap as you are, out in in CA, I just got back from the store, 2.08 per pound for pork butt (case price), 2.01 for ribs, & 5.59 per pound for tri tip. At this weeks vend, we are going up 1.00 across the board, hate to, but we are not in the business of loosing money
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
What's a fair price due to the cost of meat doing what it has?
This biz has NOTHING to do with what is fair. You have to know your food cost going in and charge whatever is needed to make your profit!

Your food cost should end up in the 30-35% range otherwise your just wasting your time.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
This biz has NOTHING to do with what is fair. You have to know your food cost going in and charge whatever is needed to make your profit!

Your food cost should end up in the 30-35% range otherwise your just wasting your time.
My thoughts exactly Bubba. I have just been told that it wouldn't really be fair to charge more for things because it would mean an increase to their pocket book. My reply was, "If they want to pay for quality BBQ, they'll pay what they have to. If they don't, they won't."

I suppose it sounds hard and uncaring, but it is what it is. I can't/won't lose money just to provide the product we do. It's too much farking work.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:16 AM   #7
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By the way, we've ended up settling on $5 for a PP sammy. We're going to lighten up on portions to make up the difference.

There are 3 other vendors and each of them insists that $5 is a "fair" price. We COULD stick with $6, but I think we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot, even IF our PP is better, people will likely go where it's cheaper. Maybe not.

Honestly, we're going to go heavier on the ribs and brisket. There's only one other vendor selling ribs and they're likely going to run out. We're the ONLY one's doing brisket.

We can't ever seem to cook enough ribs and brisket fast enough.
We'll just watch portion size on brisket and we'll do fine.

We're planning on using full spares and trimming to St. Louis style and cooking/selling the tips too, which will just be gravy on top. A little extra work, but if we can get $8-$10 for a rack of rib tips on top of the $20 for a rack of ribs at the cost we're buying it for, we'll be good.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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Just turned in my menu for our next vending event.

Carolina pork sammie with slaw $6

4 rib bones $8

Smoked sausage sammie $6

Candy bacon 3 pieces for $6

I think your way under on your ribs. Good luck brother!
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:32 AM   #9
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We did an event last weekend in CT
$8 for pork
$8 pulled chicken
$10 brisket
$9 three bones
$16 half rack
$28 full rack
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:12 PM   #10
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How many sides are you offering?
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked UP BBQ View Post
We did an event last weekend in CT
$8 for pork
$8 pulled chicken
$10 brisket
$9 three bones
$16 half rack
$28 full rack
These prices are more in line with what I see in our area (Northwest, LA). We haven't seen $6 pulled pork sammiches in years around here. Wampus has some very generous prices. But his market maybe much different.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:21 AM   #12
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I don't like comparative pricing, and I don't like the idea of matching other folks to maintain sales. However, if there are others selling pulled pork sandwiches, your options are to risk selling a better product at a higher price and lose market volume share, or to reduce product size or quality and compete for same.

I am a strong believer in using the 35% food cost multiplier and working out from there, if there is enough to warrant showing up. I have to say, those prices are exceptional compared to what we pay out here. Last food truck event I went to, I estimate that the $9 pulled pork sandwich had around 2 ounces of meat, no slaw. It was offensive to me.
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Old 07-26-2014, 08:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wampus View Post
We're vending in 2 weeks at a competition that we've been a vendor at in previous years (this will be our 3rd year).

With the increase costs in meat prices this year, we're trying to figure out what's a fair price to charge for our product. Thought I'd see what you all thought....


Here's what we're paying for meat right now here in Indy....
(I just called Restaurant Depot to get today's case prices. These are the best prices in town consistently)
Untrimmed Pork Spare Ribs (3.5 lb & down) - $1.89/lb
Bone In Pork Butts- $1.88/lb
USDA Choice Briskets - $3.24/lb

Our menu items are as follows with LAST YEAR'S prices:
Spare Ribs: 1/2 rack $12, Full rack $20
Rib tips: $8 (3 pieces of tips or about 1/2 rack)
Pulled Pork Sandwich: $6
Brisket Sandwich: $8


We know what we made last year after the event.
We have expectations of what we'd like to make this year.
We always sell out later than the other vendors (we always cook more).
We seem to have the longest lines. People have come by after trying the other vendors and tell us that they like our stuff the best and that they look forward to us being there every year.

So.....

What's a fair price due to the cost of meat doing what it has?
Meat around here isn't as bad as other places, but worse than some and it's STILL more than it was last year.

Any advice is appreciated.
When and where are you vending? If it's close I'll come and support my Brethren!
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